2020 Vintage Mystery Extravaganza

Vintage Mystery Challenge 2020 Original post on MY READER’S BLOCK

Basic Level Commandments/Rules/Common Devices (Gold) [Challenge complete 7/14/20]

  1. #5 No Chinaman must figure in the story. Murder of Lydia by Joan A. Cowdrey [Mr. Moh]
  2. #10 Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them. The Policeman’s Holiday by Rupert Penny (1937)
  3. #14 There must be but one detective–that is, but one protagonist of deduction–one deus ex machina. The Hanging Captain by Henry Wade [Chief Constable Dawle & Inspector Lott]
  4. #15 A servant must not be chosen by the author as the culprit. The Billiard Room Mystery by Brian Flynn [Butler plays major role]
  5. #18 A crime in a detective story must never turn out to be an accident or a suicide. The Crooked Hinge by John Dickson Carr (1938) [Basic commitment met 1/9/20]
  6. #4 No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end. No use of the hypodermic syringe and the knockout drops. And Four to Go by Rex Stout (1958) [Poison and hypodermic]
  7. #7 The detective himself must not commit the crime. The detective himself, or one of the official investigators, should never turn out to be the culprit. 30 Days Hath September Dorothy Cameron Disney and George Perry Sessions (1942) [Narrator suspected]
  8. #17 A detective novel should contain no long descriptive passages, no literary dallying with side-issues, no subtly worked-out character analyses, no “atmospheric” preoccupations. The 31st of February by Julian Symons (1950) [Delves deeply into psychology]
  9. #2 All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course. He Who Whispers by John Dickson Carr (1946) [Vampire]
  10. #8 The detective is bound to declare any clues which he may discover. The Devil and the C. I. D. by E. R. C. Lorac (1938) [Does not reveal information regarding a victim, which would help in leading to the culprit]
  11. #16 There must be but one culprit, no matter how many murders are committed. The culprit may, of course, have a minor helper or co-plotter; but the entire onus must rest on one pair of shoulders. Secret societies, camorras, mafias, et al., have no place in a detective story. A professional criminal must never be shouldered with the guilt of a crime in a detective story. Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth (1928) [Secret society/professional criminal]
  12. #6 No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right. The culprit must be determined by logical deductions–not by accident or coincidence or unmotivated confession. Never Turn Your Back by Margaret Scherf (1959) [Any book where it seems that the detective has pulled his/her solution out of the air]
  13. #1 The criminal must be mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to know. The Sleeping Sphinx by John Dickson Carr (1947) [Culprit is marginal character] 
  14. #13 There simply must be a corpse in a detective novel, and the deader the corpse the better. The Cat Climbs by C. A. Tarrant (1936) [Burglary]
  15. #20 Van Dine over-used devices (g) The hypodermic syringe and the knockout dropsThe Case of the Three Strange Faces by Christopher Bush (1933)
  16. #12 The detective novel must have a detective in it; and a detective is not a detective unless he detects.  Any mystery with a real detective in it. The Murder of a Quack by George Bellairs (1943) [Inspector Littlejohn]
  17. #9 The “sidekick” of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal from the reader any thoughts which pass through his mind: his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly below that of the average reader. [Who really is the culprit?] Family Matters by Anthony Rolls (1933)
  18. #11 There must be no love interest. Below Suspicion by John Dickson Carr (1949) [There’s always a love interest in JDC!]
  19. #3 Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable. The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne (1922)
  20. #19 The motives for all crimes in detective stories should be personal. International plottings and war politics belong in a different category of fiction–in secret-service tales, for instance. Above Suspicion by Helen MacInnes (1941)

2011 Take ‘Em to Trial: 16+ Books [Challenge complete 7/30/20]

  1. The Case of the Black Twenty-Two by Brian Flynn
  2. Inquest by Henrietta Clandon
  3. Death in Fancy Dress by J. Jefferson Farjeon
  4. The Duke of York’s Steps by Henry Wade
  5. The Man Who Could Not Shudder by John Dickson Carr (1940) [Basic commitment met 4/18/20]
  6. Death at Swaythling Court by J.J.Connington (1926)
  7. The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie (1932)
  8. Bodies in a Bookshop by R. T. Campbell (1948)
  9. Untimely Death by Cyril Hare (1958)
  10. Appointment With Death by Agatha Christie (1937)
  11. The Art School Murders by Moray Dalton (1943)
  12. He Dies and Makes No Sign by Molly Thynne (1933)
  13. Pontifex, Son and Thorndyke by R. Austin Freeman (1931)
  14. The Fear Sign by Margery Allingham (1933)
  15. The Riddle of Wraye by John Laurence (1936)
  16. The Dead Shall Be Raised by George Bellairs (1942)

2012 Vintage Themes: Cherchez l’Homme 8 books with male detectives [Challenge complete 6/26/20]

  1. The Case of Adam Braid by Molly Thynne (1930)
  2. Dead Man’s Quarry by Ianthe Jerrold (1930)
  3. The Cheltenham Square Murder by John Bude (1937)
  4. The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon (1932)
  5. Tragedy at Ravensthorpe by J. J. Connington (1927) [Basic commitment met 5/7/20]
  6. The Case of the April Fools by Christopher Bush (1933)
  7. The April Robin Murders by Craig Rice and Ed McBain (1958)
  8. Sir John MaGill’s Last Journey by Freeman Wills Crofts (1930)

2013 Scattergories [Basic commitment met 1/18/20] [Challenge complete 7/17/20]

  1. Colorful Crime: The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie (1924)
  2. Murder by the Numbers: Seven Dead by J. Jefferson Farjeon
  3. Amateur Night: Fatality in Fleet Street by Christopher St. John Sprigg (1933) [Charles Venebles]
  4. Leave it to the Professionals: Heads You Lose by Christianna Brand (1941) [Inspector Cockrill]
  5. Jolly Old England: Death of My Aunt by C. B. H. Kitchin (1929)
  6. Yankee Doodle Dandy: Seven Keys at Baldpate by Earl Derr Biggers (1913) [Baldpate Inn, New York]
  7. World Traveler: The Groote Park Murder by Freeman Wills Crofts [South Africa]
  8. Dangerous Beasts: The Penguin Pool Murder by Stuart Palmer (1931)
  9. A Calendar of Crime: Death Knows No Calendar by John Bude (1942)
  10. Wicked Women: Fear and Miss Betony by Dorothy Bowers (1941)
  11. Malicious Men: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie (1934)
  12. Murderous Methods: A Dying Fall by Henry Wade (1955)
  13. Staging the Crime: Death in White Pyjamas by John Bude (1944)
  14. Scene of the Crime: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery by Leonard R. Gribble (1956)
  15. Cops & Robbers: Poirot Investigates – The Adventure of the Western Star (short story within Poirot Investigates) by Agatha Christie (1924)
  16. Locked Rooms: a locked-room mystery: Case for Three Detectives by Leo Bruce (1936)
  17. Country House Criminals: The Creeping Jenny Mystery by Brian Flynn (1929)
  18. Murder on the High Seas: Inspector French and the Sea Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts (1928)
  19. Planes, Trains & Automobiles: Night Train to Paris by Manning Coles (1952)
  20. Murder is Academic: Miss Hogg and the Bronte Murders by Austin Lee (1956) [Cambridge University/Retired Schoolmistress]
  21. Things That Go Bump in the Night: The Ghost it Was by Richard Hull (1936)
  22. Repeat Offenders: The Case of the Constant Suicides by John Dickson Carr (1941) [Favorite Author]
  23. The Butler Did It…Or Not: Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer (1933)
  24. A Mystery by any other name: Murder at Beechlands by Maureen Sarsfield (1948) [A Party for Lawty (in America) and A Dinner for None (in Britain)]
  25. Dynamic Duos: Till Death Do Us Part by John Dickson Carr (1944) [Dr. Gideon Fell & Superintendent Hadley]
  26. Size Matters: Half-Mast Murder by Milward Kennedy (1930)
  27. Psychic Phenomena: The Sittaford Mystery (aka Murder at Hazelmoor) by Agatha Christie (1931) [Table turning]
  28. Book to Movie: The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie (1942) [First adapted for television in the series Miss Marple (Joan Hickson), which aired on 21–22 February 1985. Second television adaptation was in the series Agatha Christie’s Marple (Geraldine McEwan), and aired on 12 February 2006]
  29. The Old Bailey: Death Turns the Tables by John Dickson Carr (1941)
  30. Serial Killers: Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1920) [18 part serialization in the Times Weekly Edition from February to June 1920]
  31. Killed in Translation: A Wreath for the Bride by Maria Lang (1957) [Published as Kung liljekonvalje av dungen (Sweden)]
  32. Blondes in Danger: The Fate of the Immodest Blond by Patrick Quentin (1947)
  33. International Detectives: The Honjin Murder by Seishi Yokomizo (1946) Detective – Kosuke Kindaichi
  34. Somebody Else’s Crime: He’d Rather be Dead by George Bellairs (1945) [Also read by Rekha @ The Book Decoder]
  35. Genuine Fakes: Death Walks the Woods by Cyril Hare (1954) [Alfred Alexander Gordon Clark]
  36. Hobbies Can Be Murder: Mr. Pottermack’s Oversight (1930) [Lepidopterist]
  37. Get Out of Jail Free: The Chinese Chop by Juanita Sheridan (1949) Because the characters of Lily Wu and Janice Cameron are both from Hawaii—as am I!

2014 Bingo [Basic commitment met 4/6/20] [Challenge complete 8/22/20]

  1. Read one book with an author you’ve readInspector French’s Greatest Case by Freeman Wills Crofts (1924)
  2. Read one book with an animal in the title – The March Hare Murders by E. X. Ferrars (1949)
  3. Read one book with a color in the title – The Black Shrouds by Constance & Gwenyth Little (1941)
  4. Read a book with a “spooky” title – Castle Skull by John Dickson Carr (1929)
  5. Read a book with a detective “team” – Death of an Airman by Christopher John Sprigg (1934) [Inspector Creighton, Inspector Bernard Bray & Dr. Edwin Merriott]
  6. Read one book published under more than one title The Vanishing Man (aka The Eye of Osiris) by R. Austin Freeman (1911) [Bingo #1]
  7. Read one book with a number in the title – Death in Room 5 by George Bellairs (1955)
  8. Read one book with a professional detective – Murder Isn’t Cricket by E. & M. A. Radford (1946) [Dr. Manson]
  9. Read one book set in England – Murder Isn’t Easy by Richard Hull (1936)
  10. Read one book that features food/cooks in some way –  The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley (1929)
  11. Read one book with a woman in the title – The Woman in the Wardrobe by Peter Shaffer (1951)
  12. Read on book by an author you’ve never read before – The Lyttleton Case by R. A. V. Morris (1922)
  13. Read one book set in the U.S – Dead Man’s Knock by John Dickson Carr (1958) [Virginia]
  14. Read one academic mystery – A Question of Proof by Nicholas Blake (1935) [Boys school]
  15. Read one book with a time, day, month, etc. in the title – The Sunday Pigeon Murders by Craig Rice (1942)
  16. Read one book that involves water – Board Stiff by Robert James (1951) [Cruise ship]
  17. Read one book outside of your comfort zone – The Innocent Mrs. Duff by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (1946) [Dark psychological suspense]
  18. Read one medical mystery (or featuring a Doctor/Nurse) – Dance of Death by Helen McCloy (1938) [Dr. Basil Willing]
  19. Read one book already read by a fellow challenger – Maid to Murder by Roy Vickers (1950) [read by Bev @ My Reader’s Block]
  20. Read one country house mystery – The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie (1925)
  21. Read one book that features a crime other than murder – Death Takes Small Bites by George H. Johnston (1948) [Criminal gang/drugs]
  22. Read one book with an amateur detective – The Case of the  100% Alibi by Christopher Bush (1934) [Ludovic Travers] [Bingo #2]
  23. Read set anywhere except the U.S. or England – It Walks by Night by John Dickson Carr (1930) [France]
  24. Read one book with a method of murder in the title – Behold Here’s Poison by Georgette Heyer (1936) [Bingo #3]
  25. Read one book with a man in the title – Mr. Pinkerton Finds a Body by David Frome (1946)
  26. Read one book with a lawyer, courtroom, judge, etc. – 8 Faces At 3 by Craig Rice (1939) [John Malone – Lawyer] [Bingo #4]
  27. Read one book written by an author with a pseudonym – Shroud of Darkness by E. C. R. Lorac (1954) [Bingo #5]
  28. Read one book that involves a mode of transportation – The Man in Lower 10 by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1909) [Train]
  29. Read one translated work – No More Murders by Maria Lang (1951) [Published as Inte Flera Mord! (Sweden)]
  30. Read one book with a place in the title – Inspector French and the Stravel Hollow Tragedy by Freeman Wills Crofts (1927)
  31. Read one book you do not own (had to borrow) — Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers (1927) [Kindle Unlimited]
  32. Read one book that has been made into a movie – The Frightened Stiff by Kelley Roos (1942) [A Night To Remember – released by Columbia Pictures 1942] [Bingo #6 & Bingo #7]
  33. Read one book set in the entertainment world – Swan Song by Edmund Crispin (1947) [Opera] [Bingo #8 & Bingo 9]
  34. Read one book with a size in the title – Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie (1942) [Bingo #10 & Bingo #11]
  35. Read one locked room mystery – The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwell (1892) [Bingo #12] 
  36. Read one short story collection – How Good a Detective Are You? by H. A. Ripley (1939) [Bingo  #13 & 14]

2015 Bingo [Basic commitment met 6/8/20] [Challenge complete 10/12/20]

  1. Read one book set in the entertainment world – Murder to Music by Margaret Newman (1959) [Choir concert]
  2. TBR first lines – Who Killed the Curate by Joan Coggins (1944)
  3. Read one book with the method of murder in the title – Cut-Throat by Christopher Bush (1932)
  4. Read one book with a color in the title – Black Beadle by E. C. R. Lorac (1939)
  5. Read one country house mystery – The Murders Near Mapleton by Brian Flynn (1929) [Vernon House]
  6. Read one book with a detective “team” – The Puzzle of the Happy Hooligan by Stuart Palmer (1941) [Hildegarde Withers & Inspector Oscar Piper] [Bingo #1]
  7. Read one book that features a crime other than murder – The Woman in Red by Anthony Gilbert (1942) [Kidnapping]
  8. Read one academic mystery – The May Week Murders by Douglas G. Browne (1937) [Cambridge University]
  9. Read on book that involves clergy or religion – Little God Ben by J. Jefferson Farjeon (1935) 
  10. Read one book with a lawyer, courtroom, judge, etc. – Flowers for the Judge by Margery Allingham (1936) 
  11. Read one locked room or impossible crime – Murder En Route by Brian Flynn (1930) [Impossible crime]
  12. Read one book that involves a mode of transportation – The Pit-Prop Syndicate by Freeman Wills Crofts (1922) [Ships]
  13. Something “spooky” in the title or on the cover – The Spirit Murder Mystery by Robin Forsythe (1936)
  14. Read on book by an author with a pseudonym – And Death Came Too by Richard Hull (1945) [Richard Henry Sampson]
  15. Read one historical mystery – Lonely Magdalen by Henry Wade (1940) [Part II is a flashback to 25 years prior to the main story]
  16. Read one book by an author you’ve never read before – The Port of London Murders by Josephine Bell (1938)
  17. Read one book already read by a fellow challenger – Shell Game by Richard Powell (1950) [Bev @ My Reader’s Block]
  18. Read one book with a professional detective – Close Quarters by Michael Gilbert (1947) [Inspector Hazlerigg]
  19. Read one book set in the U.S. or England – The Old Battle-Ax by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (1943) [New York]
  20. Read one book with an amateur detective – The Mystery of the Invisible Thief by Enid Blyton (1950) [The Five Finder-Outers and Dog]
  21. Read one book with a woman in the title – Dead March for Penelope Blow (1951)
  22. Read one book with a man in the title – The Brading Collection by Patricia Wentworth (1950)
  23. Read one book with a number in the title – The Four Defences by J. J. Connington (1940)
  24. Read one book set anywhere except the U.S. or England – Crossed Skis by Carol Carnac (1952) [Austria]
  25. Read one book with an animal in the title – Death at Crane’s Court by Eilís Dillon (1953) [Bingo #2]
  26. Read one book with a place in the title – The Plague Court Murders by Carter Dickson (1934)
  27. Read one book with a time, day, month, etc. in the title – The Case of the Monday Murders by Christopher Bush (1936)
  28. Read one book by an author whose first or last name begins with the same letter as yours – Let Him Lie by Ianthe Jerrold (1940) [Johnson]
  29. Read one book published in the birth year of a loved one – Death of Jezebel by Christianna Brand (1948) [Annie Daly]
  30. Read one book made into a movie or TV show – Trent’s Last Case by E. C. Bentley (1913) [Film adaptions in 1920, 1929, and 1952] [Bingo #3 & #4]
  31. Read one book that you had to borrow – Thou Shell of Death by Nicholas Blake (1936) [Kindle Unlimited]
  32. Read one book published under more than one title – Murder Included by Joanna Cannan (1950) [Republished as A Taste of Murder (UK) and as Poisonous Relations (US)] [Bingo #6]
  33. Read one book outside your comfort zone – The House that Jack Built by Colver Harris (1935) [Drug research/human experimentation/child murder] [Bingo #7]
  34. Eat, Drink, & be Merry: Featuring food, drink, or party – Murder Comes First by Richard and Frances Lockridge (1951) [Because every time you turn around someone is having a cocktail!] [Bingo #8, Bingo #9, & Bingo #10]
  35. Read one book featuring a Doctor – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (1926) [Dr. James Sheppard] [Bingo #11 & Bingo #12]
  36. Free Space: Read one book set in the U.S. or England – The Mystery Mile by Margery Allingham (1930) [Bingo # 13 & Bingo #14]

2016 Scavenger Hunt

  1. A country scene – The Ponson Case by Freeman Wills Crofts (1921)
  2. A dead body – The Problem of the Wire Cage by John Dickson Carr (1939)
  3. Car/Truck – The Shakespeare Murders by A. G. MacDonell (1929)
  4. Fishing Gear – Bleeding Hooks by Harriet Rutland
  5. Chandelier/Candle/etc – Death Stops the Frolic by George Bellairs (1943) [Basic commitment met 3/24/20]

2017 Scavenger Hunt

  1. “Damsel in Distress” – Answer in the Negative by Henrietta Hamilton (1959)
  2. Cat – Who Killed Dick Whittington by E. & M. A. Redford (1947)
  3. Dead Body – Dead Man’s Music by Christopher Bush (1931)
  4. A Blond (woman or man) – The Eel Pie Murders by David Frome (1933)
  5. Typewriter – The Middle of Things by J. S. Fletcher (1922) [Basic commitment met 3/29/20]

2018 Just the Facts, Ma’am

  1. In the Medical Field: Keep It Quiet by Richard Hull (1935)
  2. Bookstore owner: The Two Hundred Ghost by Henrietta Hamilton (1956)
  1. Pseudonymous author: Roger Sherington and the Vane Case by Anthony Berkeley (1927)
  2. Reference to a man or woman in the title: John Thorndyke’s Cases by R. Austin Freeman (1909)
  1. At a Country House: Death Makes a Prophet by John Bude (1947)
  1. During a Weather Event: Dancing Death by Christopher Bush (1931)
  1. Author new to me: Death Walks in Eastrepps by Francis Beeding (1931)
  1. Death by Strangulation: Crime in Kensington by Christopher St. John Sprigg (1933) [Basic commitment met 2/13/20]

2019 Just the Facts, Ma’am

  1. Professional is main sleuth: Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs (1942)
  1. Color in the title: The Problem of the Green Capsule by John Dickson Carr (1939)
  1. At theater/circus/other place of performance: When the Wind Blows by Cyril Hare (1949)
  1. During trip/vacation: Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie (1941)
  1. Author NOT from your country: Death in Fancy Dress by Anthony Gilbert (1933)
  1. Unusual murder method [poison dart]Murder in the Maze by JJ Connington (1927) [Basic commitment met 1/29/20]

Featured image from Argosy All-Story Weekly, 1920-04-17. Artist Unknown. Obtained from https://archive.org/details/AllStory19200417 (Public domain)